Street Smart

Church Avenue is one of those all-time Street Smart 2012 © Catherine Rutgersgreat streets full of every kind of commerce going on. Fresh fruit, flip flops, flowers, fajitas. Fabulous. And that’s a short list.

But when you move west toward Coney Island Avenue, the streetscape changes. And despite the fact that there are many cool business venues, several storefronts are empty.

In the fall of 2011, the Church Avenue Business Improvement District launched a plan to do something about this: a mural competition open to all artists, age 16 or older, who live, work, or go to school in New York City. Great idea.

There are five storefront security gates just waiting to be painted. The artists have responded to the call, contributing a beautiful array of ideas and styles. Now the community gets to vote on their favorites.

Artwork by Areta Buk and Abbsynian Carto_Uncover Church Avenue Exhibit 2012And there’s an exhibit opening Tuesday, January 17, on view through February 24, 2012, at the Flatbush Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The topic, by the way, is “Church Avenue is …”

My design proposal for Uncover Church Avenue is based on the spectrum, minus red and indigo. Here’s the text, followed by the images:

Church Avenue is home. I’ve been tremendously lucky to live just around the corner from this amazing street since 1988. Truly a rainbow of the world: delightful, exciting, unmatched in diversity of people, buildings, and landscape, one block away from the Parade Ground and Prospect Park.

The mural sites are unusual in that only one side of the avenue is commercial and the other homes, which are part of the Prospect Park South national historic district. My proposal is a very simple design that offers substantial areas of color where each store owner could add written information, a logo, or other graphics. My goal is to bring an eye-catching, refreshing brightness to these storefronts, with a coherent vision that will enhance this complex environment.

Update!  Number two will become art for the street. This is amazing and wonderful!!
And it was a great experience to have an interview with Mary Bakija, editor of
the Ditmas Park Corner.

Children's Corner by Catherine RutgersFarm on Adderly Annex and Drive Time Radio by Catherine RutgersIglesia Pentecostal by Catherine RutgersRichie Rich Caribbean Taste by Catherine RutgersThe Bonnie Youth Club by Catherine Rutgers Original photographs of the storefronts by Melissa Skolnick, Program Coordinator, Church Avenue BID. Variations on the theme by Catherine Rutgers.

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2 Responses to Street Smart

  1. Susan Scutti says:

    These designs for the security gates are lovely and would make beautiful murals for Church Avenue. I really hope you get to express your vision in this way.

    • It would be wonderful if they come to life, Susan! Since you’ve walked past the storefronts the other evening, and have seen their habitat in person, it means even more to me that you appreciate the vision. ^_^

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